Eating Habits and Other Surprises

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There were many differences in lifestyle between home life and boarding house rules that I had to adjust to, the hardest being the rules in relation to meals. In our household you were to eat everything that you had chosen to put on your plate, at Barberton there was no choice. The food was passed around and you were forced to take a portion of everything that had been prepared.

Now you will have to understand that I was used to a very different cooking style, to the Afrikaans way of cooking and there was certain things that I would not eat at all even when prepared by my mother, spinach being a definite no, no.

There was one memorable occasion at home where I left the spinach that had been put on my plate by my father, which I refused to eat. I was about seven at the time, he ranted and raved that I would not leave the table until the spinach was eaten, so I sat there staring at the spinach until one in the morning, before I was sent to bed. The spinach was given to me to eat for the next two days for breakfast, lunch and supper and no matter how hungry I was I steadfastly refused to eat it. That is where the rules at home changed, that we only had to eat what we ourselves put on our plate, even when our eyes were larger than our stomachs.

The hostel rules had no exceptions written into it, no one left the dinning  hall until all the food was gone, you were not even allowed to pass what you did not want onto someone who obviously could either eat some more or desired that particular food. Not only was your plate checked, but you had to open your mouth to show that you were not hiding food in it to spit out later.

Learning to half swallow the food I did not want to eat, it took a long time to perfect. The technique of getting the food to slide only half way down my throat and to hold it there before regurgitating the unwanted swine’s food into the nearest dustbin. I could only hold it like that for as long as I could hold my breath, once I had to breathe I was forced to swallow. So I always ate the food I liked first then waited for the hall to be dismissed and the crowds to exit, I was always the last out as waiting in the line to be inspected took longer than I could hold my breath.

Lots of Hugs and more,

Peggy-Sven

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